Preconception, Pregnancy and Healthy Weight in Childhood
This report argues Government must do more to break the cycle of health inequalities which have resulted in more than one fifth of children in England starting school with overweight or obesity.
Preventative measures must start early. Research shows the extent to which a child's health is influenced before conception and in the womb and argues greater support is needed to support low-income women of child-bearing age and expectant parents during pregnancy to eat well.
Policies targeting preconception and pregnancy are largely absent from Government strategies to improve diet-related health, yet this is the crucial time point to lay foundations for a child’s healthy growth trajectory – which, in turn, impacts adult health and future generations.
For commentary on the report's key findings, listen to a special early years episode of our award-winning Food Foundation podcast.
Nutritional exposures in the womb can impact the long-term health outcomes of babies.
Rates of overweight and obesity in pregnant women rise as the level of deprivation increases.
Improvements must be made to Healthy Start so greater support is provided for pregnant and preconception women on low incomes to be able to access nutritious food.
This publication is part of an ongoing series that will progress, stage-by-stage, through a child’s early years. In the series, we will explore the underlying systemic failures in the food system that lead to the high levels of child overweight or obesity by the start of primary school.
The series will focus on what policies can enable the consumption of a healthy diet during preconception and pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood, to draw attention to the gaps and issues in policy and business practice that need addressing.
For more information visit: foodfoundation.org.uk/initiatives/early-years